When Bob and Wendy Liepman – known locally as the San Luis Obispo folk duo Bob and Wendy – first met their future bandmates, they were smitten.

“We started listening to their albums and we loved them immediately,” Bob Liepman said of married singer-songwriters Mark Davis andKaroline Hausted. “We started writing (together) and having dinner at each other’s houses.”

It was only a matter of time before the four decided to form a band that blends ethereal folk-pop with Californian and Scandinavian influences.

Shadlowlands performs Sunday at D'Anbino Vineyard and Cellars in Paso Robles. The band is also slated to play June 20 at Live Oak Music Festival in northern Santa Barbara County, marking its second appearance at the popular outdoor music festival.

The members of Shadowlands can trace their band’s formation to a mutual friend, musicianBrett Perkins.

Hausted met Davis, her future husband, in 2002 in her native Denmark at a songwriting retreat organized by Perkins. The two reconnected eight years later at another Perkins-organized event.

Three and a half years ago, Hausted moved to Los Angeles, where the couple wed.

“After a year, I was telling Mark that I didn’t think I could live there all my life,” she said, so he started searching for other California cities they could call home.

They picked San Luis Obispo “on a whim,” Davis said. “We loved being here … right from the start.”

Perkins introduced the couple to the Liepmans. As luck would have it, they live less than a mile from each other.

“Once we found them, we said, ‘They’re ours. We’re not going to share them with anybody,’” Bob Liepman joked.

Although the quartet originally toyed with the name The Grownups, they settled on Shadowlands — the title of the haunting first track on their eponymous debut album, which was released Jan. 31.

Wendy Liepman said the name was inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Persephone, who is stolen away from her mother, Demeter, goddess of the harvest, by Hades, god of the underworld.

“Shadowlands is when creativity goes underground,” she explained. “It’s winter and you don’t know if creativity is going to sprout again, but it does.”

All four band members share songwriting duties, with Wendy Liepman and Hausted specializing in lyrics and Davis and Bob Liepman handling arrangements. The two women take turns at the microphone along with Davis.

In addition, Hausted plays piano, keyboard, cymbals, organ and glockenspiel, while Davis plays acoustic and electric guitar and ukulele. They’re joined by Bob Liepman on cello and mandocello.

“I describe it as four kids in a sandbox, but none of us is fighting with each other,” Bob Liepman said.

Davis agreed.

“There’ve been many times when I’ve tried to collaborate with people and it doesn’t really gel,” he said.

In the case of Shadowlands, “None of us really has a strong ego when it comes to music,” Davis said. “We’re all fluid, or flexible, in terms of where it ends up going.”

The quartet recorded “Shadowlands” at Laurel Lane Studios in San Luis Obispo, working with producer and Central Coast music scene stalwart Damon Castillo.

Wendy Liepman said much of the album was inspired by nature, mythology and literature.

The song “Selkie Girl” had its beginnings in “The Secret of Roan Inish” by Rosalie K. Fry, while the bluegrass-tinged “River Song (Part of the Landscape)” was inspired by Willa Cather’s “O Pioneers!” The wistful melody for “Billy Walker” emerged from one of Hausted’s dreams.

Another track, “Restless Mind,” won song of the year at the New Times Music Awards in August.

“Partially because we had financed (the album) with Kickstarter, we were not as concerned with the clock ticking,” said Bob Liepman, whose band raised $12,260 last year through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. “It allowed us to take our time in the studio and create this album that people love.”

In particular, he said, Shadowlands has received strong support from public radio station KCBX,Songwriters at Play organizer Steve Key and Peter Steynberg, owner of the Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo. Steynberg gave Shadowlands a regular, six-month-long showcase last year to work out new material.

“Right away, we have this community that’s supportive of us,” Davis said. “It’s awesome, and it was kind of effortless on our part.”

Shadowlands 
2 p.m. Sunday 
D'Anbino Vineyard and Cellars, 710 Pine St., Paso Robles 
227-6800 or http://danbino.com

 

Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907. Stay updated by following @shelikestowatch on Twitter.


Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/05/27/3652482_shadowlands-music-slo.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

 

Two husband and wife duos form a great new quartet

Mark Davis and Karoline Hausted join local favorites Bob and Wendy for performance at Steynberg on Aug. 24

Synergy—the Beatles had it. They were better artists as a group than as individuals, John Lennon notwithstanding. What causes it? How does it happen? These are things we can’t really know because synergy is a kind of magic.

I recently witnessed synergy in action. A couple of weeks ago Bob Liepman of Bob and Wendy told me he and his wife had joined forces with another couple, Mark Davis and Karoline Hausted, two newcomers to SLO County, and that they were rehearsing at Bob and Wendy’s house, and would I like to come by. Yes, I would indeed.

(...)

A mutual friend—Brett Perkins—introduced the two couples last January, and after several hikes and dinners, and over the course of considerable jamming, they started to realize there was something special happening musically between them. And they’re right.

I watch intently from my perch on a chair in Bob and Wendy’s living space, where Karoline’s delicate fingers dance over her keyboard as Mark’s long hair obscures his face as he works his acoustic guitar. Bob is seated with his cello between his legs, and Wendy stands at the microphone as they work through “Witness Me,” a song Karoline and Wendy collaborated on. It’s a delicate, gorgeous song about the interdependency of the artist with the audience, with Wendy singing lead and Karoline and Mark providing backing vocals. Simply stunning.

After the song, Wendy admits she’s in a really fertile period artistically, and lyrics have just been flowing out of her.

The next song they rehearse, “Sunlight Support,” features Mark’s warm voice in an Americana-style song. Karoline plays delicate piano, and Bob adds cello, and let’s face it, there’s something inherently tender and somber about the cello sound, which can at times border on the morose, but in this song Bob’s cello soars and pushes the song toward optimism.

“That’s a melody I wrote 12 years ago,” Mark tells me after the song ends, “but I could never finish the lyrics.”

Enter Karoline and Wendy, who quickly filled out the narrative song: “You’re looking for sunlight support and I’ve been lost in the rain.”

Another song Wendy and Karoline co-wrote is “Shadowlands,” about what happens when creativity goes dormant: “Where did you go when nothing would grow?”

“I had this idea and she started playing this riff,” says Wendy as Karoline demonstrates on the keys. When they perform it, I marvel at how well their voices work together.

After the song, Wendy makes a quip about being asked, “So Wendy, are you a songwriter?”

“No, not today,” she says, expressing the elusive nature of the creative urge, but that’s clearly not the case now. All four of these musicians are on a creative tear.

“I don’t know what it is about these two,” says Wendy, referring to Mark and Karoline, “but they ignited something in me.”

“We feel the same way,” adds Karoline.

This group, which still hasn’t settled on a name, writes literate, evocative, lovely songs, and you can hear them this Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. in Steynberg Gallery. They’ll back one another on songs Wendy, Mark, and Karoline have written individually as well as perform the material they collaborated on. Prepare to be amazed by these award-winning songsmiths

 

Totally enjoyed listening to the well orchestrated arrangements and sophisticated musicality. A sonic pleasure.
Kenny Lee Lewis

 

 

Totally enjoyed listening to the well orchestrated arrangements and sophisticated musicality. A sonic pleasure
Kenny Lee Lewis

 

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